Article from: OGEL 3 (2016), in Editorial
Municipal solid waste may have 'the opportunity to become a precious source and fuel for the urban sustainable energy mix of tomorrow'. In the first years of this decade, the increase in venture capital and private-equity business investment in the waste-to-energy sector is estimated to have increased by 186 per cent to a total of 1 billion US dollars. The waste-to-energy market as a whole is expected to reach close to 30 billion US dollars by 2015, with major expansions in China and India as well as in the EU.
Waste-to-energy plants, unlike other energy-producing operations, have two purposes. Such plants generate energy and they manage waste, notably municipal solid waste. By turning waste into energy, these plants produce useful materials in the process.
Energy production and solid-waste management are complicated processes and both have a substantial environmental impact.
Activity in this area involves both energy policy and waste policy. Similarly, the costs and benefits of converting waste to energy production are usually assessed by reference either to the costs and benefits of energy production or to those of other forms of waste management, like landfill disposal. In view of the fact that the two sides of this production process are interwoven, a profound understanding and comprehensive analysis taking into account the objectives of both energy policy and waste policy is needed when making decisions in this area.
This OGEL Special Issue focuses on waste-to-energy regulation.
The issue contains contributions from academics and practitioners from Europe. These contributions cover issues such as the legal definitions in waste-to-energy production, public acceptance of waste-to-energy operations and national overviews on waste-to-energy laws and policies. These national case studies provide information and examples on national barriers (and how to eliminate them) in using waste as an energy source and as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Where properly designed, the waste-to-energy regulation can be a successful part of both national energy policies and waste policies. By providing home-grown fuel for energy production and reducing the need for landfills, waste-to-energy conversion can be a win-win situation for national policy makers.
 Topi Turunen is a doctoral researcher at UEF Law School. His research focuses on waste related regulation at national and EU level. Kim Talus is a Professor of European Energy Law at UEF Law School (University of Eastern Finland). He is also the Editor-in-Chief for OGEL (www.ogel.org). This special issue is partly funded by Academy of Finland project "Transition to a resource efficient and climate neutral electricity system" (EL-TRAN) project (no. 293437).
 World Energy Council, 'World Energy Resources: 2013 Survey', London, 2013.
 Modified from Harry Post, 'Introduction' for a one-day Waste to Energy workshop in Lille, France, 22 October 2015. Reproduced in Kim Talus, Introduction to EU Energy Law (Oxford University Press 2016).